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UN chief visits Indonesia quake, tsunami survivors

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Antonio Guterres

Jakarta, Oct 12 (IANS) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday visited the survivors of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi killing 2,073 people.

Accompanied by Indonesia´s Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Guterres examined the damage caused by the September 28 disaster in the city of Palu, reports Efe news.

More than 75 per cent of the 2,073 fatalities, according to the latest official data, occurred in this city where giant tsunami waves caused havoc to areas located hundreds of meters from the coast.

The UN chief also plans to visit Palu’s Balaroa neighbourhood, where thousands of homes were swallowed up by land liquefaction, a phenomenon that occurs when a strong shaking, such as that of an earthquake, liquefies soft soil, making the affected terrain sink and release waves of mud.

According to local estimates, some 5,000 people remain missing in Balaroa and the town of Petobo.

On Thursday, the authorities extended the search and rescue mission for survivors for another 24 hours, which will conclude at the end of Friday.

A team of 15 rescue personnel will remain in the area waiting for local requests to evacuate victims, Yusuf Latif, spokesperson for the national search and rescue agency in Palu, told Efe.

Rescue teams have not found a single survivor under the rubble for more than a week. Indonesian authorities said they will turn the areas most affected by the quake into memorial parks.

The catastrophe on Sulawesi Island is the worst experienced by Indonesia since the tsunami swept the western province of Aceh in 2004, killing 167,000 people.

The Indonesian archipelago is situated within the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, an area known for its intense seismic and volcanic activity, which produce about 7,000 earthquakes each year, most of which are of moderate magnitude.

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Global Covid-19 cases top 31mn mark: Johns Hopkins

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Corona Death Body

The overall number of global coronavirus cases on Monday surpassed the 31 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 960,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The total number of cases stood at 31,044,033 and the fatalities rose to 960,826, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 6,805,629 and 199,512, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in the second place in terms of cases at 5,487,580, while the country’s death toll soared to 87,882.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are Brazil (4,544,629), Russia (1,105,048), Peru (768,895), Colombia (765,076), Mexico (697,663), South Africa (661,211), Spain (640,040), Argentina (631,365), France (467,614), Chile (446,274), Iran (422,140), the UK (396,744), Bangladesh (348,918), Saudi Arabia (329,754) and Iraq (319,035), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 136,895.

The countries with a death toll above 10,000 are Mexico (73,493), the UK (41,866), Italy (35,668), Peru (31,369), France (31,257), Spain (30,495), Iran (24,301), Colombia (23,665), Russia (19,420), South Africa (15,953), Argentina (13,053), Chile (12,286) and Ecuador (11,090).

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UK PM to address nation over ‘winter lockdown plans

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Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to address the nation to brace citizens for “winter lockdown plans” in preparation for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, media reports said.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

He is looking at making pubs and restaurants close early and banning households from meeting up, it added.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance will reportedly make an address ahead of the Prime Minister, the Metro newspaper said in a report.

The scientists will outline the consequences of taking no action to curb the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, a government adviser, Professor Susan Michie, told The Telegraph on Sunday that every day of delay could have dire health outcomes.

“We need a stitch in time. We need to learn the lessons of the spring. Every day’s delay to a step change in measures to restrict transmission when it is increasing exponentially will be expensive in terms of health and lives in the short term and the economy in the long term,” she added.

Johnson has previously admitted that second national lockdown would be “nothing short of disastrous”‘ for the UK, the Metro newspaper reported.

The development comes as more than 10 million across the UK are placed in some form of local lockdown.As of Monday, the UK has reported a total of 396,744 coron mm mm u huhavirus cases, with 41,866 deaths.

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4 new Covid-19 cases reported in NZ

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Africa Coronavirus Case

Wellington, Sep 20 (IANS) New Zealand reported four new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the nationwide tally to 1,464, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Of the four new cases, two were community cases and two were at managed isolation facilities, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Ministry statement.

The current number of active cases in New Zealand has reduced to 71, including three patients in Auckland hospitals.

Laboratories across New Zealand have conducted 5,417 tests, increasing the total number till date to 910,853, according to the Ministry.

New Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 with additional restrictions on gatherings for its biggest city Auckland.

–IANS

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